Mehfil-e-Sahir | Celebrating 100 years of Sahir Ludhianvi: Mayur Puri reads 'Sar Jo Tera Chakraye'

For his birth centennial, we're presenting Sahir Ludhianvi's words in the voice of contemporary lyricists. Here, Mayur Puri discusses how Ludhianvi penned a very 'of-the-streets' song with 'Sar Jo Tera Chakraye', which ended up becoming the anthem of the working class.

FP Staff January 01, 2021 10:52:21 IST
Mehfil-e-Sahir | Celebrating 100 years of Sahir Ludhianvi: Mayur Puri reads 'Sar Jo Tera Chakraye'

सर जो तेरा चकराये, या दिल डूबा जाये
Sar jo tera chakraye, ya dil dooba jaaye

आजा प्यारे पास हमारे, काहे घबराये, काहे घबराये
Aaja pyaare paas hamaare, kaahe ghabraaye, kaahe ghabraaye

*

तेल मेरा है मुस्की, गन्ज रहे न खुस्की
Tel mera hai muski, ganj rahe na khuski

जिस के सर पर हाथ फिरा दूँ, चमके किस्मत उसकी
Jis ke sar par haath phira doon, chamke kismat uski

सुन सुन सुन, अरे बेटा सुन, इस चम्पी में बड़े बड़े गुन
Sun sun sun, arey beta sun, is champi mein bade bade gun

लाख दुखों की एक दवा है, क्यूँ ना आज़माये
Laakh dukhon ki ek dawaa hai, kyon na aazmaaye

काहे घबराये, काहे घबराये
Kaahe ghabraaye, kaahe ghabraaye

सर जो तेरा...
Sar jo tera...

*

नौकर हो या मालिक, लीडर हो या पबलिक
Naukar ho ya maalik, leader ho ya public

अपने आगे सभी झुकें हैं, क्या राजा क्या सैनिक
Apne aage sabhi jhuke hain, kya raja kya sainik

सुन सुन सुन, अरे बेटा सुन, इस चम्पी में बड़े बड़े गुन
Sun sun sun, arey beta sun, is champi mein bade bade gun

लाख दुखों की एक दवा है, क्यूँ ना आज़माये
Laakh dukhon ki ek dawaa hai, kyon na aazmaaye

काहे घबराये, काहे घबराये
Kaahe ghabraaye, kaahe ghabraaye

सर जो तेरा...
Sar jo tera...

***

“What is the secret behind Sahir Ludhianvi’s everlasting appeal?” Surinder Deol asks in an essay for Firstpost, examining the poet-lyricist’s life and legacy in the year of his 100th birth anniversary.

Mehfil-e-Sahir is Firstpost's ode to Ludhianvi, a collection of video tributes by seven leading Hindi film lyricists — from Varun Grover to Kausar Munir, Irshad Kamil, Shellee, Raj Shekhar, Mayur Puri and Hussain Haidry.

Each of these lyricists has picked the verses that speak most to them, explaining why Sahir's words resonate even three decades after his death.

Sahir Ludhianvi was born on 8 March 1921, in Ludhiana. His poetry and film lyrics from the 1940s onwards made him wildly popular, and earned him titles such as "the people’s poet” and “bard of the underdog”.

“Today we are witnessing new threats to democracy and secularism... In this context, Sahir's voice is essential,” Deol notes in his Firstpost essay. “The values he championed are here to stay for the better part of this century.”

View the complete Mehfil-e-Sahir series here.

***

Mayur Puri reads: 'Sar Jo Tera Chakraye' (Pyaasa, 1957)

Just when the drama begins to intensify in Guru Dutt's Pyaasa, Johnny Walker breaks into the scene out of nowhere, calling out "Maalish... Tel Maalish" — and we get this gem of a song in Mohd Rafi's mellifluous voice. It is said that SD Burman based the melody of 'Sar Jo Tera Chakraye' on a song in Hugo Fregonese’s 1958 British film, Harry Black, at the behest of Dutt, who had picked up the album during his trip in England.

While the other songs in Pyaasa are highly philosophical and profound in their meanings, Ludhianvi penned a very 'of-the-streets' song with 'Sar Jo Tera Chakraye', and it ended up becoming the anthem of the working class. "What's interesting to note in this comedy song particularly is how Sahir saab has kept his socialism intact," says Mayur Puri.

Ludhianvi beautifully lends dignity to labour when a maalishwallah proudly says that his massage can bring good fortune. Puri points out, "Imagine when he used a phrase as a social equaliser: 'Naukar ho ya maalik, leader ho ya public; Apne aage sabhi jhuke hain, kya raja kya sainik'," and further adds that in celebrating a song like 'Sar Jo Tera Chakraye', one actually celebrates the range of Ludhianvi's writing.

Editorial support, text and coordination by Suryasarathi Bhattacharya | Video edited by Akshay Jadhav | Art by Satwik Gade

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